Helps meet Chinese military needs, future commercial requirements
A Chinese defense company said independently mastering chip-making technology is crucial to overcoming foreign restrictions.
China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) has independently developed high-tech machines used to make integrated circuit (IC) chips, including 28-nanometer ion implanters and 200-millimeter chemical mechanical polishing equipment, according to a statement the company sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.
The machines were showcased at an IC technology exhibit in Beijing, the statement said.
China needs to have the equipment and technology to make IC chips as foreign companies used to dominate the industry, Zhang Cong, CETC technical director, told the Global Times.
"Foreign companies not only set high prices but also determined the quality of products they sold to China," Zhang said, noting that foreign companies never sold equipment capable of producing more advanced military chips.
Foreign technologies have evolved to the third generation, but foreign companies were only willing to sell first generation equipment to China, Zhang said.
China relied heavily on imports of high-end IC chips due to restrictions on manufacturing equipment, base materials and technologies. The country spends more than $200 billion a year on IC imports, the CETC statement said.
After China recently mastered the second generation technology, foreign companies greatly reduced their prices for first generation machines and agreed to sell second generation equipment to China, Zhang said.
"Independently mastering the manufacturing technology is good for the industry in China, as we can choose our domestic products and buy foreign products at a lower price," Zhang noted.
China is still behind the cutting-edge in IC chip production, and further efforts are needed to improve the domestic technology, Zhang said.
CETC is a state-owned technology group which focuses on the defense industry. The company delivers key components to Chinese military satellites, missiles, aircraft, vessels and vehicles, the company's website said.
"As basic components of weapon systems, IC chips play a key role in missile guidance, ballistics calculation, target recognition and intelligent control," Wang Ya'nan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Without advanced IC chips, weapons cannot perform as they were designed to, he said, noting that a country's security is dependent on domestically made IC chips for this reason.
Being able to independently make IC chips means that China not only meets the military requirements for chips but also future commercial uses, he said.